Where have all the good jobs gone?
Long time passing.
Capitalism in the United States is clearly failing to provide good jobs for American workers. First, it’s failing to provide jobs, since the official unemployment rate has been above 8 percent for 40 months now (and the U6 unemployment rate has been above 14 percent for even longer: 42 months).
And when people are managing to find a job, the percentage of good jobs has fallen from 27.4 percent in 1979 to 24.6 percent today.
The Center for Economic and Policy Research defines “good jobs” in terms of three criteria: a job that pays at least $18.50 per hour (in constant 2010 dollars), offers health insurance that is at least partly paid by the employer, and provides some kind of retirement plan.
What they find is that, over the last three decades, the share of good jobs in the economy fell 2.8 percentage points, despite a substantial increase in the quality of the workforce and a 63 percent increase in Gross Domestic Product per person.
Now, there are lots of different ways of defining good jobs. We might, for example, define a good job in terms of workers who have the possibility to collectively decide how much surplus they will produce and what should be done with that surplus. In that case, the percentage of good jobs in the U.S. economy falls to a tiny percentage. But even in terms of the current economy’s own rules—that, with more education, more years of experience, and higher productivity, workers will be rewarded with jobs that fit the CEPR’s definition—it is failing miserably.
To finish the song, when will we ever learn?